|Mary Avenue Bridge; courtesy of LERA.|
So many freeways and expressways crisscross the auto-oriented sprawl of Silicon Valley, and they contribute to a physical environment that is inhospitable, forming actual and pyschological barriers to those who attempt to get around on foot or a bicycle. But pedestrians and bicyclists alike will be able to enjoy bridges that will provide additional routes of access over otherwise-impenetrable walls of freeway. Two new bridges at Borregas Avenue in Sunnyvale, crossing over both Highway 237 and Highway 101, have finally opened, and they will allow an anticipated 2,000 daily bicyclists and pedestrians to cross over the freeway instead of traveling a couple miles out of their way to the nearest through street. The spans will also ease access to Sunnyvale Baylands Park and the nearby Borregas VTA light rail station. Then, on April 30, a more visually impressive bike-ped crossing over Interstate 280 will also open, connecting the two separated halves of Mary Avenue, between Sunnyvale and Cupertino near the Highway 85 interchange. The Mary Avenue bridge will be the first example in California of a cable stayed bridge crossing over a freeway. Still further bike-ped improvements are due later this summer in Mountain View, Santa Clara, and San Jose. The Borregas corridor and Mary Avenue bridges are just two components of VTA’s rather extensive 25-year Bicycle Expenditure Plan, which represents a considerable investment in livable streets improvements scattered throughout Santa Clara County. Yours truly may prefer walking and transit over bicycling, but we nonetheless look forward to the day when San Francisco’s Bicycle Plan will have completed its wandering journey through environmental review — so that new bicycle infrastructure in San Francisco can catch up to these improvements in the South Bay.